I like to have a plan. My wife teases me that I think in schedules and charts and time tables. It's true. Growing up in England gave me an odd sense of things-should-be-done-in-the-appropriate-way-and-order.  Our children did not get this gene from me. They're a little more spontaneous, and like to do things their own way. This can make bedtime tricky.

If I ask my son to clean up his room and get in his pajamas, in my mind that's the order it should go in. Clean up first, then pjs.  Otherwise he...uhhhh...might get his pjs dirty while he's cleaning up? Probably not. It's totally arbitrary, and I just happened to say it in that order. So why do we get so worked up if things aren't going exactly to plan?  Often we want things to go the way we imagined they should because we're much more comfortable with the "known" as opposed to the "unknown."  If things go the way we want, we can move along to the next thing quicker. If not, there's always the worry that we just have one more mess to deal with.

But do things always have to go our way? Does it really matter what order my son does his nighttime routine? Not really.  But when things deviate from our plan, do we rigidly try to force things back on track or are we able to take a step back and ask ourselves if this is really a big deal.  Not everything can be a big deal. We can't make every disagreement with our kids the hill that we die on. Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and try to be patient.  This is particularly true when our kids are trying to learn or master something.  Letting our kids do things their own way, when appropriate, is an important part of them learning how to be independent and successfully solve problems.  Even if it means they have to start by learning all the ways how not to do something.

Today see what you can do to allow your child to try tackling a problem or chore his or her own way.